We teased it with a strip shot on Saturday, and now SA’er ‘blunted’ checks in with this phenomenal story and a great example of how to make your kids love the water as much as you do.
So how do you take an 1800 km road trip to retrieve a sailor from Mackinac island in the dog days of summer and make it fun and interesting? You try to set a world record; that’s how.
This past Tuesday following the spicy trip up to Mackinaw from Chicago aboard the Pain Train known as Peerless, my wife, my two kids, and I managed to sail and swim in every one of the five Great Lakes in a single day.
The wife and kids came to pick me up in Mackinac following the race in our family Jeep with an Opti strapped to the roof. Come Tuesday morning, following a full day of “re-hydrating” on the island, we left the motel in St. Ignace at 7:00 am. Following a quick diner breakfast we jetted North for an hour to a small bay in Brimley, right on Lake Superior. The kids hopped out and launched themselves into the pristine waters to get some swimming going on while I pulled the boat from the roof rack, splashed it and got it rigged. After a few minutes we had the kids sailing back and forth in 4 knots of breeze giggling away. We yanked the boat up on shore, got the photo proof and then I set about madly derigging and loading the boat back onto the roof of the Jeep.
I had set a 45 minute turn around at each port of call so we could make our schedule for the whole day and we hit that with no problem. All four of us got a little swim in, towelled off and got rolling again quickly. Like any sailing campaign, good logistics made a world of difference. I had built a quick-and-dirty custom rack to locate the boat in just the right place every time and the same for the rig. I had set up the sheet on a quick action snap shackle for speed rigging and we’d have the kids dressed in their swim gear 20 minutes before we hit any given beach. I had mapped out all our sailing locations and also had back up locations set up in case we had issues with any places we landed. All of this allowed us to hit our locations pretty much according to our schedule and kept things running smoothly all day long.
Following Superior, we headed South to Lake Michigan near Harbor Springs at Petoskey State Park. Then a run down the state and across the border bridge to a nice spot on Lake Huron at Sarnia Ontario, followed by Port Stanley on Lake Erie. We finished up the record at Burlington, Ontario on the West end of Lake Ontario. All in the sailing part started at 8:40 am EDT and ended at 9:45 pm EDT. We could have gone faster, but feeding a hungry mob dinner trumped getting the best possible time for our mission. In total, it was about 16 hours from door to door. While we were trying to set a record, we wanted it to be fun before anything else.
The kids were thrilled to have broken a record (even a dumb one) by sailing and swimming in all five great lakes in a day and both parents thought it was kind of fun too. We still have to ratify it with www.recordsetter.com but either way it was a fun mission to try to pull off.
Now some might argue the real reason we did this was to answer the age old questions asked by millions of teachers the world over every September, “What did you do this summer?”, but for me the reality was that it was to let the kids know a few things, 1. Sailing can be fun in lots of different ways, not just racing and cruising, 2. It’s not always that hard to accomplish something kind of extraordinary.
On both counts I think we succeeded.
Kudos to my daughter Cameron, my son Harrison and my wife Jen. A great job by all for our little family team.